IDPH COVID-19 Wastewater Monitor Programming Expands In the Region

By Benjamin Cox on September 24, 2021 at 6:57pm

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Discovery Partners Institute wastewater monitoring program for COVID-19 has expanded to two counties in the region since its inception in May.

According to IDPH, they are collecting samples of wastewater in seven additional counties in the state after piloting the program with 10. Cass County was one of the pilot counties. In August, the program conducted monitoring in the City of Beardstown noting a high level of the virus in the town’s wastewater samples.

IDPH said in May that the virus is detectable in human waste nearly from the onset of infection, while symptoms may not appear for three to five days. The program’s hope was to detect a potential outbreak on a county-by-county basis.

WICS Newschannel 20 says the program has now expanded to Adams, Brown, and Pike counties in West Central Illinois. IDPH says approximately $311,000 of the original $5.5 million has been spent on the program so far. As of today, there are wastewater treatment plants submitting samples from 17 counties.

IDPH and Discovery Partners are working to rapidly onboard treatment utilities in all 102 counties in the state by the end of January 2022.